Garbage collection is about get much quieter and fuel efficient.

The Ratto Group announced on Nov. 2 it will roll out more than 15 Wrightspeed range-extended electric vehicles over the next 12 months.

According to Wrightspeed, this will be the first commercial application of electric refuse trucks on the planet.

“In a business that puts a premium on re-use, this represents the ultimate in recycling. We’re literally recycling the recycling truck,” said Lou Ratto, COO of The Ratto Group. “By integrating Wrightspeed’s powertrains into our existing commercial fleet, we’re initiating a progressive solid waste and recyclables collection strategy that will maximize the life of our vehicles, cut fuel consumption and emissions, and have a positive environmental impact on our service areas.”

The Santa Rosa-based Ratto Group’s fleet of refuse, recycling and compostable yard waste trucks services more than 140,000 customers in Sonoma County, Mariposa County, the City of Novato, and West Marin. The plan is for the newly outfitted trucks to serve all markets.

Wrightspeed’s range-extended powertrain, The Route, is designed to deliver economic, environmental and performance benefits in both new vehicles and existing fleet retrofits. The system is a fuel-driven generator, with renewable diesel that burns cleaner than electricity to recharge its batteries.

“Batteries alone don’t have enough storage, as during the day the truck load gets heavier and heavier. So there are batteries on-board with a range extended generator,” said Eric Koenigshofer, project specialist with Ratto.

Wrightspeed was awarded $7 million in grants by the California Energy Commission to further develop the technology for broad-based adoption.

“As an early adopter of our powertrain technology, Lou Ratto has solidified Sonoma County as a leader in pioneering new technologies that will improve and preserve the region for future generations,” said Ian Wright, Founder and CEO of Wrightspeed. “We’re proud to collaborate with Lou and his team and to establish our powertrain technology as the economical and environmental choice for cleaner, quieter and more efficient communities.”

Located in Silicon Valley, Wrightspeed was founded by Ian Wright, co-founder of Tesla Motors.

Cynthia Sweeney covers health care, hospitality, residential real estate, education, employment and business insurance. Reach her at or call 707-521-4259.